Vietnam’s digital firms need a reasonable legal framework and a level playing field where they can compete against multinational groups with big money and modern technology.
In early September 2018, the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) officially set the goal of developing a digital ecosystem in Vietnam, affirming that the ecosystem will play an important role in promoting the sustainable socio-economic development and contribute to ensuring national defense and security.
Five groups of products and services will be developed, with the focus on information searching products, social networks, web browser, operating systems and anti-malware software.
MIC’s view is that Vietnam’s ecosystem must be developed and provided by Vietnam’s firms and operates in accordance with the market rules. The State will set the ‘rule of game’ with reasonable policies to encourage Vietnamese firms to create products for the ecosystem.
Vietnam has good products, such as web browsers (Coc Coc, Viettel Secure Browser, Chim lac – BKAV), operating systems (BOS on BPhone and VOS on VinSmart), anti-malwater software and security solutions of CMC Cyber Security, VIettel, BKAV, CyRadar, FPT and Vsec.
|MIC’s view is that Vietnam’s ecosystem must be developed and provided by Vietnam’s firms and operates in accordance with the market rules. The State will set the ‘rule of game’ with reasonable policies to encourage Vietnamese firms to create products for the ecosystem.|
As for social networks, in the the year 2019 witnessed the birth of two social networks – Lotus (VC Corp) and Gapo (G-Group), which strives to have 50 million users by the end of 2021. In the past, there were only two ‘purely Vietnamese’ networks (Zalo of VNG and Mocha of Viettel Media).
Commenting about the opportunity to develop five groups of products in the ecosystem, an internet and digital content expert said the problems associated with operating system, browser, search engine or social networking were solved more than a decade ago and the tools are 'perfect’ already.
“It is very difficult to invent a new wheel. And even if we can do this technologically, we will have to spend decades to change consumers’ behaviors,” he said.
Instead, Vietnam should focus on platforms, such as super-apps. Indonesia, for example, has Go-jek, while Malaysia has Grab and China, WeChat.
The expert also mentioned OTT TV, saying that the current laws create favorable conditions to create purely Vietnamese super apps.
Vietnam can start with a basic and essential service, such as watching TV on mobile phone, and then develop other services when gathering enough users. By doing this, Vietnam will be able to develop an ecosystem more easily.
“Vietnam went through many periods, from 2.0 web period to internet mobile. The next period will be the period of IoT, Big Data/AI, super app and the shift to the digital economy/society,” he said.
A report from VinaResearch showed that the average time of using social networks of Vietnamese people in 2018 was 2.12 hours on Zalo and 3.55 hours on Facebook a day.
Vietnam has experienced two periods of digital product development. Developing a digital ecosystem plays an important role in promoting sustainable socio-economic development.
Amid the Fourth Industrial Revolution, Vietnam is boosting efforts and policy reforms to build up a digital economy.